West Union teachers receive prestigious award

West Union Jr./Sr. High School staff members Tess Holloway, left, and Aaron McCann, right, were recently honored with the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education.


By Mark Carpenter –
Photo provided by WUHS Jr./Sr. High School –

Hard work in and out of the classroom does payoff as two staff members at West Union Jr. Sr. High school recently found out.
Mrs. Tess Holloway and Mr. Aaron McCann and West Union High School were notified that they had been chosen as recipients of the prestigious Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education, an award only presetned to 58 schools in teh state by the Ohio Academy of Science.
“It was such an honor for our teachers to be recognized for the outstanding work they do every day with our students,” said WUHS Assistant Principal Amanda Blanton.
“Only a handful of teachers from the state received this honor and to have two of our own teachers, who both graduated from WUHS and returned to WUHS to impact the next generation of students, is something of which we are very proud.”
Following is the official press release accompanying the official award announcement, released Sept. 5: “The Ohio Academy of Science today selected 58 Ohio schools and 509 teachers to receive The Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research for their accomplishments during the 2016‐2017 school year. Each school will receive a special Governor’s Award certificate, and each teacher will receive a complementary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science. The Technology Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency funded the program.
The criteria for the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence are: (1) to conduct a local science fair with twelve or more students, (2) qualify two or more of these students for one of the Academy’s 17 district science days, (3) have students participate in at least one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom such as State Science Day, Science Olympiad, B‐Wiser, visits to museums, mentorship programs, and extended field trips and (4) convince external STEM professionals how and to what extent the school’s program met the Academy’s definition of STEM education. The Ohio Academy of Science defines STEM education as both the mastery and integration of science technology, engineering, and mathematics for all PK‐12 students. It incorporates scientific inquiry and technological design through student‐focused, project‐based curricula to develop skills of communication, teamwork/collaboration, creativity/innovation, critical thinking and problem solving.
First established in 1985, the Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards recognizes Ohio schools and teachers who stimulate scientific student research and technological design and extend opportunities beyond traditional classroom activities. Students must participate in one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom, including State Science Day, The Ohio Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, and other structured STEM‐related youth activities. “These schools and teachers push the boundaries of the traditional classroom by advising and mentoring student originated research and other hands‐on experiences”, said Michael E. Woytek, the Academy’s CEO.
The Ohio Academy of Science initiated this educational partnership program in cooperation with The Office of The Governor and The Technology Division of The Ohio Development Services Agency to recognize schools and teachers for excellence in STEM education and scientific student research.
Forty professionals ─ broadly represenng STEM employers from business, industry, government, and academia ─ evaluated the applications in a review process.”
Holloway teaches Physics, Astronomy, Forensic Science, and Anatomy and Physiology, along with college credit courses in Chemistry, and Physical and Historical Geology.
McCann’s regular course load includes Advanced Mathematical Topics, College Prep Algebra II, Algebra II, and ACT Preparation. His college credit courses include Algebra, Trigonometry, and Statistics.